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To Find and Retain the Best Salespeople

How to choose the best person for the job

Recruiting talented salespeople who enjoy the thrill of the hunt isn’t easy, but keeping them can be even harder.


If you’re having trouble hiring people with the right skill set and finding ways to keep them challenged and invested in the company, read on for tips from hiring pros who offered their best advice on how to attract and keep great sales people.


“Sales is a talent-driven field,” says Jeff Zinser, principal and founder of Right Recruiting. “The difference between good and average sales people is huge. It’s also very subjective. Two sales resumes with the exact same words in them may represent two very different salespeople – one exceptional and one horrible.”


Identifying the best candidates requires a two-tiered approach, Zinser says. First, make sure you know what your target looks like.


“Have a good understanding of the specific traits that make salespeople successful in your company,” Zinser says, “Physical presence, phone skills, closing skills, consultative sales, etc.”


Then cast a wide net.

“Talk to as many people as you can. These are often personal traits, and you need a big top of your funnel. Recruiting for sales people is very labor intensive. We had a client who asked us to help them fill three regional sales roles in different parts of the country. We reached out to 500 people, spoke to 50 people, and had 20 interviewed by the client to get the hires. That’s a normal sales ratio. There’s no way to automate it or cut it short if you want good sales people. Don’t rely exclusively on resumes.”


That said, a sharp eye can spot information on resumes that may help you in hiring, especially if they’ve been recently changed.


“Consider headhunting to find the top sales talent,” says Steve Pritchard, HR manager at Cuuver.com. “For example, check out LinkedIn for new profile developments from salespeople in the same industry. If a salesperson has recently updated their information on LinkedIn – like skill set, experience – or uploaded a new resume, it could be a sign that they’re looking to change jobs.”


In terms of keeping good salespeople, Pritchard says the biggest danger is falling into a rut.


“The best salespeople constantly need new challenges,” he says. “It’s the nature of their job, after all. But there needs to be a reward – a promotion or raise, a higher level of commission or just an extra day’s holiday a year. Ask them to be in charge of launching your new product or spearheading your next big sales drive. It shows that you consider them to be a vital part of the team and want them to stick around.”


Zinser says the two most important considerations are, unsurprisingly, money and management.


“People who go into sales do it for income but also have egos that require attention,” Zinser says. “The best sales managers I have seen know how to keep their sales people on an even emotional keel and can create a good compensation platform that’s specific to their sales process.”

PBM Staff WriterJuly 10, 2018

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